Eighty schools pledge to personalize the admissions process

Eighty U.S. colleges and universities announced plans to reform their respective admissions processes Monday.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, a new group formed by the 80 institutions, aims to personalize the college application process so that high school students are well-informed about their options before senior year.

GW is not part of the coalition, though Inside Higher Education reported that the 80 institutions expect other schools to join them. The coalition includes all eight Ivy league institutions, top public schools like nearby University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Michigan, and nearly half of GW’s peer institutions like Duke and Emory universities.

The coalition is open to public schools with “affordable tuition along with need-based financial aid for in-state residents,” Inside Higher Education reported, as well as private schools with “sufficient” financial aid packages.

Some private schools in the group are, like GW, “need aware” meaning that those schools do take into account a student’s financial need when making acceptance decisions

Six of the University’s 14 peer schools, including Washington University in St. Louis and Northwestern University, are part of the group, which said will focus on changing high school’s portfolios, interacting with potential applicants more early and often and creating a new application system.

The group will facilitate a free program in which high school students will start a portfolio in the ninth grade to showcase their best work over the next four years. The participating institutions also pledged to connect with high school students earlier and to provide feedback on portfolios as early as ninth grade.

The coalition will also start a new online application system that relies more heavily on work applicants did in high school, Inside Higher Education reported. The Common Application, which serves as the main application for more than 600 colleges, including GW, faced criticism in 2013 when its system crashed.

High school transcripts and standardized test scores will still have to be submitted by applicants. GW’s undergraduate application process became test-optional optional in July after University President Steven Knapp’s task force on access and success, which he created last year, recommended the change.

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